What is Link Building? How it Works and Why it Matters

What is Link Building? How it Works and Why it Matters


If you have any experience with digital marketing, chances are that you’ve probably heard the term “link building” before, but what is it exactly? And why is it such a big deal in the world of search engine optimization? To answer this question, we’ll first have to examine what search engines use links for.   How do search engines use links? There are two fundamental ways that the search engines use links: 1.     To discover new web pages 2.     To help determine how well a page should rank in their […]

What Makes a Good Link? How to Qualify Link Building Opportunities

What Makes a Good Link? How to Qualify Link Building Opportunities


Understanding link building and identifying link building opportunities is only half the battle when it comes to implementing an effective link building strategy. What really separates a great link building campaign from a not-so-great campaign is your ability to determine what is a “good” link building opportunity and what is not. To help with this, we’ve boiled the complicated link qualification process down into a simple eight item checklist:   Use common sense! Ask yourself: 1.    Is the placement relevant to the niche? This is arguably the most important factor […]

Free, Quick, and Easy Keyword Research Tools and Tips for SEO and Audience Insights

Free, Quick, and Easy Keyword Research Tools and Tips for SEO and Audience Insights


Contrary to popular belief, keyword research is not just for SEOs. You can use keyword research practices to get a better understanding of your audience’s wants, needs, questions, concerns, and more. I also cover this topic with a little more detail in my How SEO Can Boost Your Marketing Automation Efforts talk and blog post. Free Keyword Research Tools Google Google Search Console Google Trends Answer the Public Keyworddit ahrefs Keyword Generator   1. Google Just search a general topic in your industry or a keyword for which you’d like […]

Google Page Experience Update: More UX Factors to Become Confirmed Ranking Factors in 2021

Google Page Experience Update: More UX Factors to Become Confirmed Ranking Factors in 2021


On Thursday, May 28th, 2020 Google announced a new ranking signal that combines Core Web Vitals with their existing page experience signals (mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS, no intrusive interstitials).   This new ranking factor will not go live until at least 2021 and Google will provide at least a 6-month notice. See Google’s announcement here.   This is similar to other UX centered initiatives at Google (see the “Mobilegeddon” mobile-friendly update, the page speed update, the HTTPS update, and the interstitials update as examples) where they preannounce an algorithm update / […]

Google’s May 2020 Core Update Rollout is Complete

Google’s May 2020 Core Update Rollout is Complete


On May 4th, 2020 Google announced a broad core algorithm update, as they do a few times a year. This newest update is called the May 2020 Core Update. These updates typically take a couple of weeks to fully roll out, and on May 18th, 2020 Google announced the May 2020 Core Update was fully rolled out. The May 2020 Core Update rollout is complete. — Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) May 18, 2020 What is a broad core algorithm update? A few times a year Google will make “significant” updates to […]

How to Diagnose and Address Declines in Your Organic Search Traffic

How to Diagnose and Address Declines in Your Organic Search Traffic


You must be able to understand why organic search traffic (Google traffic, Bing traffic, etc.) declined before you can implement the best strategy to improve it. That was the topic for week two of Weekly Emsights: COVID-19 edition, which you can watch here: If you look at your organic traffic in your reporting platform and you see meaningful declines – here is a list of questions to help you diagnose this loss further:  Questions to help you diagnose organic search traffic declines  Are there any current events?  Is the decline unique to organic […]

How COVID-19 Is Impacting SEO

How COVID-19 Is Impacting SEO


Date updated: 4/17/2020 Since the onset of the coronavirus crisis in the U.S., we have had multiple clients approach us with uncertainty and questions. How is the coronavirus affecting current user behaviors? How do we think it will affect ongoing, long-term search behaviors? The truth is, we’re experiencing this for the first time along with everyone else. But as a data-driven agency, we wanted to dive in and provide some insight into current trends and we put our heads together to discuss. We analyzed all our client data to see […]

Using Paid Media During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Using Paid Media During the Coronavirus Pandemic


Writing this from my home in Prairie Village (Kansas) rather than the emfluence office in the Crossroads (Kansas City, Missouri), I can only muse that the old saying “the only constant in life is change” seems like a huge understatement. COVID-19 has certainly upended all of our lives, especially those in the service, healthcare, & hospitality industries. I’m left to reflect on how this crisis is affecting the Paid Media landscape, not because it’s the most important aspect of our lives, but because sometimes it’s good to focus on what […]

What’s in a Menu: Minimalist Website Navigation

What’s in a Menu: Minimalist Website Navigation


The core component of running a successful website in this day and age can be succinctly summarized in one word: content. This should come as no surprise to most of us, I mean who hasn’t heard the cliché “content is king” before? Now, I don’t mean to suggest this statement is untrue–I’d actually argue that it’s as true as it’s ever been–just that this emphasis on content can very easily evolve into an overemphasis on content, which can in turn overshadow other essential parts of a managing your site.   […]

13 Digital Marketing Trends to Watch In 2020

13 Digital Marketing Trends to Watch In 2020


Welcome to 2020! New decade, new you. There are dozens of new trends in digital marketing every year, so I wanted to take some time to highlight a few that I think are the most important or potentially impactful (generally). These trends are personal opinion, of course.   Business Intelligence and Data Analytics Drive Business Decision-Making In my personal opinion, business intelligence and advanced data analytics are probably the most important trends to follow in 2020. As digital marketers, there is no shortage of data to create compelling “data driven” […]

Google’s BERT Algorithm Update Explained

Google’s BERT Algorithm Update Explained


It’s been a few weeks since Google began rolling out its latest major search algorithm update, BERT, and many members of the SEM community still have questions about what this change means for search engine optimization and content marketing. For good reason, too. The sheer amount of speculation and “expert” guides that were published just days after the update was announced have made separating algorithmic fact from fiction difficult.   Thankfully, we’ve done most of the heavy lifting for you and put together a no-nonsense guide breaking down the key […]

Evolve Your Strategy with Programmatic Advertising

Evolve Your Strategy with Programmatic Advertising


No matter how long you’ve been doing this, it can happen: your Paid Media can get stagnant. It’s happened to me. The Search campaigns are humming along but not necessarily growing. You’ve found every relevant search query under the sun, and your negative keyword list is tight enough to keep most bad searches out. You’re tweaking your audiences, demographics, and ad scheduling to make sure performance maintains despite additional competition and Google’s ever rising Cost Per Click (oh so that’s how their stock price keeps going up). You’re dipping a […]

How to Find Old URLs and Create a 301 Redirect Map

How to Find Old URLs and Create a 301 Redirect Map


Does your site have a history of revisions like adding, removing, or editing pages or updates to the site architecture or menu structure? Or did a site migration go poorly? Check out our SEO site migration checklist here. Chances are you have a lot of old URLs that were never redirected to the latest live URL. If a URL is updated or removed, you want to make sure you always 301 redirect users and search engine crawlers to the new URL or the most relevant, live location. What are 301 […]

Stand Out in a Crowd with 3D Ads

Stand Out in a Crowd with 3D Ads


What if your ads could literally stand out? What if your ads stand out so well, they appeared to be touchable as if you could physically interact? Insert 3D ads. These ads help bring an image to life and offer an interactive experience to consumers.   3D ads consist of an interactive 3D model embedded into a banner ad. These ads allow consumers to view and interact with a product from multiple angles in extreme detail. Let’s say you’re selling a pair of tennis shoes. The shoes would appear as […]

6 Ways to Integrate Search Engine Marketing and Email Marketing

6 Ways to Integrate Search Engine Marketing and Email Marketing


Email marketing and search engine marketing are the top channels for driving highly qualified traffic to your website, and they are excellent ways for prospects to easily engage with and consume your content. Both SEO and email marketing are highly dependent upon a content strategy that focuses on relevance and quality. If you are not offering highly relevant and high-quality content, email subscribers will lose interest and search engines will stop giving you the credit you deserve.   There are a lot of synergies between your email marketing strategy and […]

emfluence Joins Microsoft Advertising Partners Program

emfluence Joins Microsoft Advertising Partners Program


Who still uses Bing these days? We do!   We’re pleased to announce that emfluence has been invited to join the Microsoft Advertising Partners Program! Over the last six months, we’ve been prioritizing training and certification for our team, as well as ramping up our efforts on Microsoft Advertising (formerly Bing Ads). Results have followed, as we’ve been able to allocate budget from Google to Microsoft for most of our clients.   Tactically speaking, moving accounts to Microsoft Ads is easy – it connects directly with Google Ads to import […]

Google Marketing Live 2019: Follow the Way to Better Ads

Google Marketing Live 2019: Follow the Way to Better Ads


Another Google Marketing Live is in the books, and we have more insight into the path of Google Ads for the year. Last year was all about automation, and we continue to optimize to those initiatives today: Developing rich and diverse text ad assets for Responsive Search Ads is an ongoing task in our queue. Many of our campaigns have moved to Automated Bid Strategies with improved results for our clients. Attribution past Last Click is gaining adoption. We are making use of Smart campaigns, specifically Smart Shopping, to widen […]

Convincing Customers to Switch Banks with Digital Marketing

Convincing Customers to Switch Banks with Digital Marketing


Switching Banks is Hard. Luckily, it’s not impossible.   Switching. Banks. Is. Hard. Like – getting-a-toddler-to-sit-still, opening-a-pickle-jar-on-your-91st-birthday, changing-political-views-on-social-media hard. Yet as financial institutions, we all want to achieve that brass ring, to become their primary financial institution – with all the loan and share balances that come with that relationship.   So let’s take the hard and make it eas…OK. OK. Let’s take the hard and make it less hard.   It’s gonna take more than a banner ad Helping a potential customer switch to your place won’t happen with […]

How to Define KPIs that Measure Success

How to Define KPIs that Measure Success


Our KPIs are better than yours. I believe that most of the time this statement is true (although there are the occasional times where I run across someone with some really kick-ass KPIs and strategies). I believe that our KPIs are better because this is an emphasis of how we do business for ourselves and for our clients. We take it so seriously we brought in a Customer Success Director to make sure we are tracking toward KPIs that indicate success.   What Are KPIs (In Marketing)? KPIs, or key […]

4 Tips for Using Marketing Automation to Enhance Your Paid Search Strategy

4 Tips for Using Marketing Automation to Enhance Your Paid Search Strategy


Running successful, effective paid media strategies across Paid Search (Google/Bing), Paid Social (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, etc), and online display can be a challenging task for anyone, even marketers with tons of time. For marketers tasked with dozens of items, it becomes exponentially more difficult even for the most savvy and experienced digital marketer to keep up. Using marketing automation to enhance digital paid media campaigns can create new layers of efficiency and create a more integrated strategic approach. Here are four tricks for how you can leverage marketing automation […]

Google Ads to Eliminate Average Position Metric

Google Ads to Eliminate Average Position Metric


In some significant news out of the Ads wing of Google HQ last week, it was announced that Google Ads will be sunsetting the Average Position metric. If you’re surprised (like I was) you can relax for now – the change isn’t coming until September. Surprised as I was, upon reflection the change makes a lot of sense. Below I’ll explain the “why” behind the move, as well as metrics to pay attention to moving forward.   Why Did Google Ads Get Rid of Average Position? From my first day […]

A Beginner’s Guide to PPC Ad Extensions

A Beginner’s Guide to PPC Ad Extensions


You’ve done it! Your campaigns are scheduled and targeted, and ad groups are aligned to your offerings with carefully crafted keywords and ad copy. Time to sit back and watch the results come in, right?   Not so fast! No campaign is ready to go without a full array of Ad Extensions. Ad Extensions are add-ons to your ad copy that can increase your performance, including through improved clickthrough rate and higher likelihood of conversion. Simply put, ads with more information that make use of more pixels tend to perform […]

The Top 7 SEO Trends to Watch in 2019

The Top 7 SEO Trends to Watch in 2019


Latest Ranking Factors and Organic Search Trends How to appear organically in Google search is a constantly evolving process. New features appearing directly in search results, more results page real estate going to ads, and continuous algorithm updates keep marketers on their toes. Let’s look at the SEO trends to watch for in 2019.   7 Important SEO Trends in 2019 Machine learning / RankBrain Intent based content and keywords Featured snippets Crawler optimization Expertise, Authority, and Trust (E-A-T) JSON-LD schema Site usability   1. Machine learning / RankBrain From […]

Audience Targeting Guide for Google Ads, Facebook, CRM, & More!

Audience Targeting Guide for Google Ads, Facebook, CRM, & More!


Early on in my career, my peers and I focused a lot on individual keyword bids. If Cost Per Action was too high, lower your bids. If you want a higher volume of traffic, increase your bids! With the increasing availability and sophistication of Bid Automation (which I’ll cover in a later post), I focus very little on individual keyword bids anymore. A Max Cost Per Click by Keyword simply doesn’t matter that much anymore, and a big reason for that is the ability to apply bid adjustments by Audience. […]

9 Quick Tips for Enhancing Your Paid Search Campaigns

9 Quick Tips for Enhancing Your Paid Search Campaigns


On November 1st, I will be a part of a 3 person panel at SEMPO Cities KC on the topic of Exploding ROI with Paid Search. As a precursor to this presentation (note to self: work on this presentation!), I wanted to share a few thoughts on what is working in Paid Search…and Paid Social. The reality of online advertising, in my opinion, is that getting yourself stuck in one channel is similar to the idea of putting too much of your investments into a single stock or group of […]

Offline to Online Ad Targeting: The Basics

Offline to Online Ad Targeting: The Basics


As a digital marketing agency, we are highly focused on identifying strategies and tactics that will work to drive further engagement and conversion online. We love digital because of the high level of “measurability” we have when it comes to monitoring the tactics that we deploy. However, we also know that most businesses rely to some degree on their offline footprint to drive ongoing engagement beyond the typical digital channels like search, email, and social media. That’s where offline to online ad targeting comes in handy.   These business that […]

How SEO Can Boost Your Marketing Automation Efforts

How SEO Can Boost Your Marketing Automation Efforts


SEO can boost your marketing automation efforts in these three ways: Build leads and lists through qualified organic traffic Utilize existing organic data to optimize conversion points Use keyword research to send targeted content to specific lists Click on the links above to jump to that section. I recently discussed this topic at the And Then Some emfluence Conference 2018. Here is the video and SlideShare of my talk: How SEO Can Boost Your Marketing Automation Efforts from emfluence   But if you’re more into reading/scanning, the meat of the […]

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